More states turn to e-prescribing to better manage opioids

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More than half of all states in the nation now require electronic prescribing of opioids, other controlled substances or all prescriptions.

In June 2018, governors Greg Abbott of Texas, Ron DeSantis of Florida and John Carney Jr., of Delaware signed state legislation to reach the milestone.

“To combat the opioid crisis, one of the biggest issues in healthcare today, we must all work together to digitize prescriptions and arm care providers with the actionable intelligence they need to make optimal care decisions and deliver adequate pain management,” says Tom Skelton, CEO at Surescripts, which operates a nationwide health information network.

“We’ve worked cross the Surescripts Alliance and with industry partners from coast to coast to ensure that this powerful technology realizes its full impact on patients and the people who care for them,” he adds.

Also See: CMS rule would streamline prior authorizations for e-prescribing

State and federal legislatures have pushed for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) because it replaces paper prescriptions and assists in eliminating theft and forgery.

When combined with electronic access to patient medication history data, providers can identify potential misuse of substances and improve the accuracy, security, privacy and efficiency of the prescribing process, Skelton explains.

As of 2018, nearly all pharmacies supported EPCS although only a third of prescribers did the same. But in states where electronic prescribing is mandated, prescriber and pharmacy use of EPCS has increased. For example, in New York during 2018, 85 percent of all controlled substances were prescribed electronically, according to a Surescripts report.

In October 2018, President Trump signed a federal law requiring use of EPCS for all controlled substances under Medicare Part D by Jan. 1, 2021.

Information for prescribers on how to implement EPCS technology is available here.

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